Judiciary

Gavel with a speech bubble

On big rights issues, the courts are like a backup fail-safe, not a strategy.

By Justin Katz | May 12, 2021 |

Ethan Yang, in a post for the American Institute for Economic Research, asks, “Why Have the Courts Been Deferential to Lockdowns?”  Yang addresses legal principles and tests, such as “rational basis” and “the narrowly tailored standard” and writes: Hollow phrases such as “the common good,” “the public interest,” and “reasonable” give enormous discretion to judges…

Analyzing Roberts–and Politics’ Role–in Wake of Health Care Ruling

By Marc Comtois | June 29, 2012 |

While disagreeing with the outcome, Charles Krauthammer has some ideas as to why Chief Justice Roberts may have ruled as he did in the Health Care case: Why did he do it? Because he carries two identities. Jurisprudentially, he is a constitutional conservative. Institutionally, he is chief justice and sees himself as uniquely entrusted with…

Civically Valuable Performance Art Courtesy of the Supreme Court

By Carroll Andrew Morse | March 29, 2012 |

During Tuesday’s oral arguments over Obamacare, Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer apparently teamed up to pay tribute to the old adage, attributed to Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain amongst others, that it is “better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt”. Justice Thomas…

All in the Judiciary’s Hands

By Justin Katz | July 4, 2011 |

The precedent that this ruling out of Michigan, related to a constitutionally created ban on affirmative action, sets is astonishing: The 2-1 decision upends a sweeping law that forced the University of Michigan and other public schools to change admission policies. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the law, approved by voters in…

A Due Respect for Political Patronage Job Holders

By Justin Katz | December 27, 2010 |

Looking out the window prior to work, today, brings to mind this article about truants that I’ve been meaning to note for a few weeks, now: For years, magistrates for Rhode Island Family Court’s truancy program have imprisoned students who misbehave during hearings on their attendance, despite a state law created to keep the government…

Questions of Law and Questions of Power

By Justin Katz | August 18, 2010 |

Edwin Meese is not impressed with U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision that the Constitution requires recognition of same-sex marriage: By refusing to acknowledge binding Supreme Court precedent, substantial evidence produced at trial that was contrary to the holding and plain common sense, the ruling exhibits none of the requirements of a traditional decision. This…

Marriage However They Want It

By Justin Katz | August 4, 2010 |

Yes, there are distinctions, and obviously, it is possible to argue both points simultaneously, but consider the circumstances that some early federal judicial rulings on same-sex marriage have created. A judge in Massachusetts has declared that the U.S. Congress and President cannot define marriage for the purposes of federal law, because the Constitution leaves the…

Guess it Depends on Who Nominates the Blank Slate

By Marc Comtois | May 13, 2010 |

October 14, 2005. The White House [needs to] recognize that, in the absence of any judicial record on her part, in the absence of any significant work that she appears to have done related to Constitutional issues, that she is going to need to be more forthcoming and the White House is going to need…

Separation Doesn’t Mean That One Silences the Other

By Justin Katz | May 1, 2010 |

By way of follow-up on an issue that I’ve mentioned, before, the Supreme Court has ruled that a plain cross on public land in the middle of the desert does not constitute an establishment of religion: By a 5-4 vote, the justices reversed lower courts in California that ordered the U.S. Park Service to remove…

Whitehouse to SCOTUS?

By Marc Comtois | April 10, 2010 |

As I was driving around this morning, I heard from our corporate overlords on WPRO that RI Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse was an “out of the box” candidate to fill the soon-to-be vacated Supreme Court seat currently held by Justice Stevens. Upon further research, it seems the idea was first floated by a contributor to the…

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